Colchester based Afghan interpreter feels 'forgotten' by government

  • ITV Anglia's Hannah Pettifer has been to meet Aimal.

An Afghan interpreter who was seriously injured while working alongside British forces in Afghanistan says he feels 'forgotten' by the British government.

Aimal was brought to the UK under a resettlement scheme in 2015, but has been unable to access the support most Afghan interpreters are entitled to.

For eight years he says he has been left in limbo as the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office cannot decide who should take responsibility.

His work included interpreting Taliban intelligence for Colchester's 2 and 3 Para.

But in 2010 he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) causing him serious injuries to his legs and back. He has been left with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I heard about this thing when I was on the front line, PTSD, I was like, what is it man?

"Something invisible, we had some guys who were affected but now I can see this thing is real, the trauma, the whole war, it keeps reminding you, war is not a fair place." Aimal told ITV News.

In 2015 Aimal was brought to the UK under the settlement scheme but soon realised he did not qualify for the same support as others who were injured in service.

Aimal told ITV News that the reason he has not been able to access the same support as others is that they worked for the MOD and could claim compensation, whereas Aimal was working for the Foreign Office when he was injured, which does not run a scheme.

"One thing I've learned from working on the front line is you don't turn your back on someone, but here, I'm completely forgotten," Aimal said.

"I know with the war in Ukraine everyone is busy but let's not forget that we were with forces on a war on terror, terror that was terrorising British people on the street here.

"It was a war British people supported and now has been forgotten."

Aimal has been unable to work for 8 years because of his injuries and his PTSD.

He says he was given £15,000 but because his case falls between the two departments he has been unable to access the full range of support other interpreters have been given.

"MOD say 'yes you worked for us but you weren't injured with us', the Foreign Office says they don't run the process, it's being run by the MOD and I'm not on the list.

"All the other guys are getting huge sums of money. On a daily basis they receive help, and I don't know where to turn," Aimal said.

In response to Aimal's claims, a UK Government spokesperson said it does not comment on ongoing legal cases, but stated: “To date, nearly 23,000 people have been brought to safety.

"This includes British nationals and their families, Afghans who loyally served the UK and others identified as particularly at-risk.

"Upon arriving in the UK support has been designed carefully to ensure the support and services required by those being resettled are in place to help them integrate into society and rebuild their lives.

"We are also ensuring that Afghans who have resettled in the UK through  can work here from day one and have access to benefits, including Universal Credit, healthcare and public services.”

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